In Boxing News: Judah Outfoxed, O’neil Bell, Joe Mesi & Erik Morales

In Boxing News: Baldomir Outfoxes Judah

After watching from ringside on Saturday night, George Kimball writes that Zab Judah was outboxed, outfoxed, but, mostly, outhustled by Carlos Baldomir. After doing a lot of talking about Floyd Mayweather prior to the Baldomir bout, Judah – with the loss – fell out of contention for an anticipated April date against the Pretty Boy that might have earned him millions. Judah complained post-fight of having to make promotional appearances in the lead up to the fight because his promoter, Don King, was not doing his job. Judah went on from there, but it’s hard to see how Judah’s conspiracy theory adds up, despite Don King’s past form. It is also ironic that Judah should complain about the demands of promoting the fight in his hometown when it was he who expressed surprise that Cory Spinks would defend his title in St. Louis – Spinks’ hometown – when the two met in a rematch in Feb., 2005. Judah believed that he could take advantage of the distractions Spinks would suffer due to fighting in his hometown and, sure enough, Judah knocked Spinks out to win the undisputed welterweight title. Apparently the lesson was lost on Judah. Not to mention the one about concentrating on what’s immediately in front of you instead of worrying about the future. As it stands, Judah is no longer the welterweight champion and the Mayweather showdown appears to have gone up in a puff of smoke too. Though reportedly the first person to call Zab Judah on Saturday night after he had blown his big payday against Floyd Mayweather was Mayweather himself.

A final note regarding Baldomir‘s shock upset of Judah: Marc Lichtenfeld, in his excellent column on Judah and his lack of preparation – Just Desserts – says that for once boxing got it right, with the fighter with the lesser name getting the decision even though he was fighting in the name fighter’s backyard. With the win, Baldomir is now the WBC welterweight champion. However, the WBA and IBF belts are apparently now vacant, because either – depending on who you believe – Baldomir did not pay the sanctioning fees to the WBA and IBF or because the Argentinean was unranked by those sanctioning organizations (or both). So, if I have this straight, Baldomir beats the undisputed champion of the world – who holds three belts – but he only emerges with one title belt. Sorry to split hairs here, but even though the judges got it right, once again the sanctioning organisations muddy the waters. I’m sure there’s a perfectly bureaucratic explanation for the non sequitur, but the bottom line is it’s yet another example of why boxing is often seen as the ugly stepsister of mainstream sports.

In the co-feature on Saturday night O’Neil Bell stopped Jean-Marc Mormeck in a bit of a slugfest. The victory makes Bell the first undisputed cruiserweight champion since Evander Holyfield in the late 80’s. Bell wore down Mormeck, the WBA/WBC champion, finally chopping him down with just 15 seconds left in the 10th round. Mormeck, now 31-3, rolled over to his back and remained there for several minutes after the 10-count, gathering his wits. After the fight Bell said, I had to break him down methodically. I had to take him mentally, and then take him physically.

Erik Morales says he hates talk, but he is hearing a lot of it lately and some of it is coming from his father and former trainer. Morales and his father, Jose, split after an Morales’ loss to Zahir Raheem. I knew this was going to happen sooner or later. So it happened. I know he has been talking to the press and saying some things that I don’t really understand, said El Terrible.

Jack Mesi, Joe Mesi‘s father and manager, says they are looking foward to 2006, but the Buffalo heavyweight will not be rushed as he plots his comeback in the heavyweight division: It will take Joe a year to recover, timing wise and strength wise. Joe’s very athletic and he works like a dog, so we’ll see. He’s a real clean liver and he has no physical problems. His weight is an issue. I’m guessing he’s 260 (pounds), maybe 270 at the top end now. But Joe’s real smart on nutrition and he knows how to get the weight off safely and get into shape. The plan is for Mesi to fight again in March against a “tune-up” type of opponent.

In other heavyweight news, Shannon Brigss is pursuing a fight with Samuel Peter. There’s been talk that the two will meet in the not- to-distant future. But that’s not good enough for Briggs, who has a fight Jan. 27 against Chris Koval in Miami. Briggs says he will not stop hounding Peter until the two meet in the ring: All I want is to knock out Peter’s front two teeth.

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